ELKINS - An evening of high-energy family fun is in store as The Mountain Dance Trail, a heritage tourism project of Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College, hosts the first monthly square dance of the season in Elkins on Friday, September 8 in the open-air dance pavilion on the Davis & Elkins College campus. The season will run from September to May and most dances take place on the second Friday of each month.
The event will feature square dance calling from Bob Smakula of Montrose with music by the Davis & Elkins College Appalachian Ensemble string band.
Appalachian Ensemble, a student performance group at Davis & Elkins College, presents traditional music and dance from the Appalachian region and beyond, focusing on the intersections of different American vernacular forms and their roots.
“This is one of the first gigs for the Appalachian Ensemble string band this year and they are all geared up to play music that will cause you to dance the night away,” said Becky Hill, events coordinator of Augusta Heritage Center.
The student string band, under the direction of Emily Miller, consists of fiddler Branson Raines, a sophomore from Asheville, N.C.; bassist Devon Rose, a senior from Benwood, W.Va.; fiddler and mandolin player Ben Zorn, a junior from Chicago, Ill.; fiddler and banjo player Jim Mclaughlin, a freshman from Wheeling, W.Va.; and guitarist Johnny Henline, a freshman from Elkins.
A beginners’ workshop will be taught at 7:45 p.m. and the dance starts at 8 p.m. All dances are beginner and family friendly and participants don’t need to come with a dance partner.
“The monthly square dances keep alive the spirit of Augusta Heritage Center’s summer program all year long and we are so excited to have such a fantastic group of young musicians playing for us,” Hill said.
Admission is $7 for general public, $5 for students and AmeriCorps members, and free to Davis & Elkins College students, faculty and staff.
The dance is part of The Mountain Dance Trail, a heritage tourism project of Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College, which hosts a square dance almost every weekend in the heart of West Virginia. Square dances are hosted in Elkins the second Friday of each month from September to May. However, the next Elkins square dance will be on Friday, October 20 as part of the Fiddlers’ Reunion celebration. Music will be provided by October Old-Time Week staff with round robin calling. To learn more about square dances throughout the region, visit www.mountaindancetrail.org or call the Augusta Heritage Center at 304-637-1209.
A D&E center of excellence for more than 40 years, the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College offers several week-long programs featuring instruction in many traditions of music, dance, craft and folklore. Concerts, dances, a summer festival and other heritage arts events are part of the Augusta experience. The Augusta Heritage Center is also home to significant collections of field recordings, oral histories, photographs, instruments and Appalachian art.
Programs offered by the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College are presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the National Endowment for the Arts with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.
Related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Davis & Elkins College is located in Elkins, 2 hours east of Charleston, 3 hours south of Pittsburgh and 4 hours west of Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit the College website at www.dewv.edu or call 304-637-1243.